With the recent events that took place here in Pittsburgh, I got to thinking more and more about the nature of social media. Truth be told, I never really was a fan. Facebook is only passingly interesting and twitter is a novelty that I predict will eventually follow other services into oblivion. Remember AIM?
I read the shooter's blog. I'm sure a lot of people have. It was interesting that his blogspot site was shut down by the time I got home to read it last night, but the text was transcribed on abcnews.com. Did they buy that or just claim it?
At any rate, I'm wondering why we feel compelled to do things like blog and facebook and tweet. Is it just for fun? What are we looking for? I'm left thinking that the more superficially connected we are, the more likely we are to feel alone. The point gets driven home that even though we may have all these personal contacts on the web, we are alone when we step away from the computer screen. It's poetically ironic that this dude was reaching out to the whole world and was still being denied the connection he desperately wanted. It is a special case, the guy's world view was obviously skewed, but the fact remains that he had options. Did he ever post on match.com if he wanted a companion so badly?
I think we get our minds made up on how things should be. The sheer volume of media coverage and opinions and reinforcement from all this extra social interaction can drive a person crazy. There are so many options and so many perfect examples of how things should be that we go nuts trying to choose what type of person we want to be and then trying to follow others' well-documented examples of taking that path to self-actualized nirvana. It's hard to be unique and comfortable with yourself when there are so many examples of how you're wrong or flawed.
I assume eventually we will adapt and evolve, but where does that put us until then? It's not an issue of regulating or dismissing social networking, they're here to stay. But what do we do in the mean time? How do we learn to balance our shrinking privacy and actual physical face-to-face connectivity with the growing pseudo-contact and relatability that social networking and modern media provide?